Aaron Allen

Weber State 2007 – 2012,
Manufacturing Engineering Technology Major
3.59 Total GPA, ~3.8 core GPA, 7 straight semesters honor roll (1 high honor roll)

As my family and friends cheered me on when I graduated from Weber State University, I recalled a rush of accomplishment that I never thought was possible. I was once a young senior in high school not sure if I was going to be able to graduate with my class. I was quickly doing makeup packets (Math & Science) in the last weeks of high school to obtain the necessary core credits to qualify, and fervently figuring out how to get credit for the missed class time and the required payback. I remembered a school counselor telling me, “College probably isn’t for you”. I was young, naïve, inexperienced, exhausted of school, and most importantly barely able to graduate my standard high school curriculum, so I believed that counselor. I did however get a visit from a technical school that focused on my abilities in automotive repair, but ultimately, I was not ready for that either.

Fast forward some time and I had finally had some people who believed in me, had a job that I didn’t know where it would take me, and was ready for a change. I enrolled at Weber State University with an intent of following the Manufacturing Engineering Technology (MFET) degree to a tee. I had my motivating factors in what this education could turn out to be, so I began the process. My first core class in MFET was with Rick Orr talking about the different companies and positions that could be offered with the degree I was going for. I soon found that, unlike many of the high school “teachers”, these college professors, at least in my mind, wanted and strived for me to achieve. I found a new passion in the idea of what it took to be successful in this path. 

My professors throughout my college career gave amazing support and provided the courage that I could perform the curriculum set forth. During my time at Weber State, I was able to get one-on-one help from the professors and ask the hard questions that would help me later. Discussions with the professors and their constant encouragement and coaching allowed me to gain a confidence in myself that was not there before. I took great pride in picking the professor’s brain on the topic when I didn’t understand, and they gave back the knowledge in droves. I give credit to Rick Orr for always showing that the knowledge was easy to use, Kelly Harward for driving home the passion of what you want to do, Glen West for being a great encourager and allowing me to bounce so many ideas off of him, George Comber for taking me to my brink of ability and then developing it further, I still remember something from the first day of CNC programming and that opened my eyes to a better understanding of many other topics (GHOTI), Kerry Tobin, who was always willing to lend a helping ear of whatever topic I bothered him with, whom is also a great friend these many years after graduating, Andy Drake who used his vast experiences to drive the importance of what he was teaching. I still remember a class opening statement and discussions I had with him that I use to this day, and many other professors I crossed paths with that saw something in me that I didn’t even realize I had in myself.

Taking it a step at a time, albeit attending full time of at least 12 credit hours per semester and working 30-40 hours per week at my job, I was able to accomplish the course’s requirements. I enjoyed the classes and the curriculum and soon found out how to succeed in the classes as I found a passion within myself of critical thinking, cognitive reasoning and a knack for the type of work I was doing, many times enforced by the professor interactions. I was even challenging myself many times to set the curve in the class and ensure that my grades were more than adequate. Many of my classes focused on various topics and knowledge that I already had from growing up,  working on my family farm, and working at an auto dealer in the shop. These experiences allowed me to see things from a technical perspective and a hands-on approach and then apply the theories and course work to what I already knew. 

Many of the classes were also geared to allow me to grow into the knowledge that was required for my degree completion. Theorizing and allowing me to grow from my mistakes prior to the testing was key in understanding the needed requirements. From basic hands-on machining all the way to programming the CNC mills, it allowed me to grow my knowledge and understand these machines and their abilities which has helped me in my career. From the extend experience using Solidworks and other CAD programs, performing DG&T, welding, Statistical Analysis all the way to Six Sigma, programming, electrical, critical machine and tooling design, production processes, and even management classes have allowed me to flourish in my current position as having knowledge in many of these areas apply directly to my current job duties.

Many times, during my college career I would use that phrase “college probably isn’t for you” as the proverbial chip on my shoulder. I was bound and determined to prove the doubters wrong. I was capable of so much more, and my experience at Weber State proved that. I have worked side by side with many other colleagues that went to what you would call more prestigious schools than Weber, like Perdue, Texas A&M, ASU, OSU, BYU, Utah, Utah State, and more, but my knowledge and capabilities learned at Weber State have not allowed me to feel like I’m any less capable of doing the job, if not allowed me to be better.
Am I saying that my degree taught me how to do my job? With a resounding yell, NO! My experiences at Weber State taught me to think on my feet, drive tasks to completion, be inquisitive, ask the hard questions and believe in my own abilities. That’s what allows me to succeed.
Remember that kid who barely graduated high school? Through my experience at Weber State I was able to graduate college with an Engineering Degree, a member of an Honors Society, without any worry at the end, knowing that I had put my better foot forward, found my motivation, committed to my own cause, and pushed myself. I set my own curve, found that with the right personnel in place, even me, a high school slacker, whom I joke got “senioritis” my junior year, could do it.